Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



Global carbon emissions from individual, organizational, and institutional activities influence the environment. Organizations and institutions use sustainability reporting methods to regularly track and report metrics relating to emissions from collective activity, yet data needed for such reporting can be difficult and time-consuming to collect. Multiple institutions, particularly universities, often use digital, standardized carbon footprint reporting tools to help overcome these challenges. Still, using digital reporting tools does not alleviate all challenges faced in regular carbon reporting due to the lack of data collection structure among university departments. This scholarly activity attempted to calculate the carbon footprint of Western Kentucky University (WKU) for academic year 2019-2020. The net carbon footprint was calculated at 53,408.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Additionally, a data collection structure was developed and evaluated to effectively collect and report carbon data annually. The data collection structure was distributed to and tested by respective departments. Feedback was collected via surveys and implemented, resulting in a custom, simplified data collection process for each department. The project resulted in a completed carbon footprint for 2019-2020 along with an efficient data collection structure to support regular benchmark and comparison of WKU carbon data allowing for improvement of campus sustainability.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Leslie North, Ph.D.


Environmental Sciences | Sustainability